I’m baffled that we live in a world where Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson are given awards for acting (even if they are just meaningless MTV Movie Awards) and I’m still not entirely sure what a Justin Bieber is, but being the editor of a pop culture site, I do try my best to stay in touch with what the kids are following these days.
That’s why I recently watched as much as I could stomach of Lady Gaga’s video for her song “Alejandro”, which officially surpasses Cher’s “If I Could Turn Back Time” for the title of “Most Homoerotic Gyrating By the Guys in the Background of a Slightly Manish Singer’s Music Video.”
It’s also why I tuned in to last night’s finale of Glee, a show that has become a surprise hit this season. I had never seen a single moment of Glee before and I didn’t know much about the show beyond the fact that it was about a glee club and that Jane Lynch was in it being her usual snarky and hilarious self, so I decided to give the show the ol’ One Shot treatment to see if it could hook me in with its big season finale.
Glee – “Faithfully”
(Fox – Tuesdays at 9 p.m.)
(Side note: As per usual, I’m far too lazy and unmotivated to go look up these character’s names in advance, so I’ll be assigning generic titles to these characters as I go along.)
The “Previously On …” vignette opening the show tells me that some blonde girl got kicked out of her parents’ house for being pregnant and that someone named Jesse “dropped Rachel and McKinley and the New Directions and he’s back on Vocal Adrenaline,” whatever that means. Also, the glee club must win regionals or the group must disband forever (and the terrorists win).
However, we quickly discover that the deck is stacked against them because Jane Lynch, the school’s cheerleading coach who hates Glee Club, is a celebrity judge at the competition for some reason, even though that seems like a horrible conflict of interest. (Perhaps she earned celebrity status for making this fantastic iPhone parody.) Glee Club Teacher is very upset by this development, but Principal With A Funny Accent doesn’t really care.
We cut to a cheerleader and a guy with a Mohawk messing around with each other. She tells Mohawk that she can’t go all the way because she is the president of the Celibacy Club, but he tells her to have another wine cooler and relax. He finally seals the deal after telling her that this isn’t just another hook up and she’s not fat.
Glee Club Teacher tries to cheer up the troops, who don’t like their chances of winning now that Jane Lynch is a judge. They are so upset that they refuse to eat any of the pizza Glee Club Teacher brought. Token Asian Girl is incredibly sad because she had no friends before Glee Club and is worried she will lose all her new friends if they disband.
To fulfill the show’s sexual tension quota, GCT talks to his dream girl, who conveniently works at the school. He looks to her for words of encouragement about regionals and she reminds him how much he loves his job. Then, she brings him back down a notch by telling GCT she’s dating her dentist (although apparently he hasn’t gotten around to drilling her cavity yet, if you know what I mean).
Glee Club Teacher hears Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” in his car and begins to get all weepy. Trust me, GCT, we’ve all been there. The dulect tones of Mr. Steve Perry can make even the manliest of men a bit teary-eyed. Apparently, the song inspires GCT to have the group perform a Journey medley at regionals. (And why wouldn’t it?)
We cut to regionals, where we are introduced to our celebrity judges. In addition to Jane Lynch, we have Josh Groban, Olivia Newton-John and Some Other Guy. The competition begins with the group Oral Intensity (which incidentally would be a great title for Tori Black’s follow up to Batman XXX). Oral Intensity, apparently tipped off to the identity of the celebrity judges in advance, sing a medley of Olivia Newton-John and Josh Groban tunes.
Next up are our heroes, New Directions. We start with Some Douchey Kid and a Brunette Singer Chick, who kissed earlier in the episode, so I’m guessing they are now dating or something. They open with “Faithfully,” an awesomely cheesy Journey love ballad about how much the band missed their wives while they were out on the road being offered copious amounts of hookers and blow. It was hard to enjoy this show’s rendition though because as soon as Douchey Kid began singing, my hand automatically balled itself up into a fist, ready to beat him down for butchering it with his completely generic and forgettable vocals. Luckily, Brunette Singer Chick jumps in and saves it, hitting the high parts beautifully. The rest of the group joins in and they all switch over to “Any Way You Want It” and eventually “Don’t Stop Believing.” Jazz hands and fist pumps abound.
After their performance, Pregnant Girl’s mom shows up and tells her that she kicked dad out of the house for having an affair with Bombshell McGee. So now Pregnant Girl is welcome back home. PG is happy, but there’s no time to celebrate because her water just broke.
Vocal Adrenaline (which is such a stupid, nonsensical name) hits the stage and begins singing “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Jesse the traitor sings lead. In a really cool sequence, the show cuts back and forth between their performance and Pregnant Girl being rushed off to the hospital to deliver her baby. She even shouts out a perfectly timed “Let me go” in the delivery room, which syncs up with the music. Eventually, she delivers the baby (which has way too much hair and none of that gross jelly stuff they usually smear all over newborns on TV shows) as Vocal Adrenaline wrap up their performance.
Brunette Singer has a heart-to-heart with some older brunette lady, who I gather is the coach of Vocal Adrenaline (and possibly Brunette Singer’s mom or something). Brunette Singer wants this lady to come co-teach the Glee Club at her school, but the lady says she regrets missing out on living a domesticated life, so she’s going to do that instead.
The celebrity judges deliberate on the three performances. Olivia Newton-John is sad that only one school honored her in song and she is incredibly unimpressed with New Directions’ shabby costumes. (She hilariously asks if they are “a poor person’s school.”) Josh Groban and Other Guy also start piling on to New Directions, which makes Jane Lynch begin to feel sorry for them. Eventually, the other three judges turn on Lynch too, saying she isn’t a “real” celebrity.
They all vote and Vocal Adrenaline emerge as the big winners. New Directions finish in last place, which means they have to disband. After that, (No Longer) Pregnant Girl and her baby daddy decide to give their kid up for adoption and the coach of Vocal Intensity, looking to get started on that domesticated life, adopts their baby. Glee Club Teacher finally professes his love for Required Sexual Tension Girl and they kiss, which probably receives an “awww” from people watching who are actually invested in this storyline.
Then, all of the Glee Club meet up and talk about how they really are winners because of how much they’ve grown together. They all sing a song that I can’t identify as their big finale together before disbanding forever.
But, it turns out it’s not really over for the club (since, you know, that would be the end of the show and all). It seems Jane Lynch went to the principal and demanded Glee Club get another year. Sure, she hates them and managed to best them once and for all, but like The Joker without Batman, she knows things just wouldn’t be the same without having her nemesis around to do battle with. (We also discover via flashback that she actually voted for them to win regionals, though she doesn’t reveal this to GCT). In gratitude, he attempts to shake her hand, but she refuses, saying: “I’ve seen that car you drive, I don’t want to catch poor.”
We end the episode with the teacher telling the club the good news. Then, he breaks into the Israel Kamakawiwo`ole version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” a great tune which has sadly become one of the most overplayed songs on television and in movies today.
Final Thoughts: The “Bohemian Rhapsody” sequence was well done and Jane Lynch was as funny as I hoped she would be. Olivia Newton-John had some great lines (although her overly-tight face was a bit distracting) and, outside of the one douchey kid, the vocals were pretty solid.
That being said, this show really isn’t for me. Sure, it’s fun watching Jane Lynch, but she’s entertaining in everything she’s in and I’d much rather see her in something like Best in Show or The 40-Year-Old Virgin. As for the rest of the show, I thought this was supposed to be a comedy, but it was overly dramatic and there weren’t nearly enough jokes. I’m not sure if having more background information on these characters would have helped me enjoy it more, but everyone just seemed so mopey and emo and overly dramatic. There were too many unrequited loves being requited and boring melodramatic plotlines being resolved in this episode for characters I am in no way attached to. The song choices, too, while pleasant, all seemed rather obvious and easy. It all seemed too safe, like they are making sure not to take any chances with the musical selections on this show.
So my apologies, today’s youth, but I won’t be becoming a gleek anytime soon. Now, can one of you young whippersnappers please explain to me what a Justin Bieber is before you all kindly get off my lawn.
Joel Murphy is the creator of HoboTrashcan, which is probably why he has his own column. He loves pugs, hates Jimmy Fallon and has an irrational fear of robots. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.